Partial substitution of peat moss with biochar for sustainable cultivation of Durio zibethinus L. in nurseries

  • Robert Thomas BachmannEmail author
  • Sharifah Adawiyah
  • Thilagam Krishnan
  • Benson Khoo
  • Tan Sue Sian
  • Trevor Richards
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Implications of Biochar Application to Soil Environment under Arid Conditions


The extensive use of peat moss as potting medium in nurseries worldwide is not sustainable causing peatland depletion and greenhouse gas emissions. This research seeks to explore whether wood biochar produced by the environment-friendly flame curtain method can partially substitute peat moss in plant nurseries without affecting plant growth and health. Biochar was produced from durian wood logs in a top-quenched Kon-Tiki earth kiln, crushed, and mixed with peat moss at dosages of 0, 1, 2.5 and 5% (w/w). Durian seedlings were grown in 2.5 L polybags arranged in randomised complete block design with 4 replicates per treatment. Plant height, collar diameter, pH, moisture content, number of branches and leaves, and plant health were monitored weekly for 94 days. Liquid fish fertiliser was used as organic fertiliser. Our results demonstrated that biochar can substitute at least 5% (w/w) peat moss without negatively affecting plant height, collar diameter, number of leaves and branches, and plant health. In addition, organic fertiliser is not required during the first 3 months of cultivation resulting in cost savings to the nursery operator. Plant height was found to be the most accurate yet simple monitoring parameter studied. A better understanding of the effect of higher biochar application rates as well as the number of times the potting medium can be reused without loss of potting medium properties and health can help to further cut nursery cost and reduce reliance on peat moss.


Durian wood biochar Peat moss Organic fertiliser Kon-Tiki flame curtain technology 

Supplementary material

12517_2018_3792_MOESM1_ESM.docx (44 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Institute of Chemical and Bioengineering Technology (UniKL MICET)Alor GajahMalaysia
  2. 2.Top Fruits Sdn BhdSeri KembanganMalaysia
  3. 3.Environmental Engineering ConsultantKuala LumpurMalaysia

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